Warning



Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 
“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver 
the message of judgment I have given you.”
This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, 
a city so large that it took three days to see it all. 
On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds:
 “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 
Jonah 3: 1-4

For quite some time the Lord has been sending warnings through those gifted with a prophetic anointing. These warnings appear to have tremendous similarities, which to me speak of those who are hearing from the Lord in a kind of concert--as each prophet speaks it harmonizes with what others have heard.

While these prophecies have minor differences, the similarity which runs through each is that great judgment is coming to the world and most especially to America. The Spirit of the Lord is coming very soon in glory and with fire and with this visitation of judgment will be untold anguish for us on this North American continent.

To speak of judgment is to raise the ire or sarcasm of most people. While it’s never been a welcome message, today more than ever before, it is one that is ridiculed. It’s a grave error to do so. The Lord has been sending these warnings for many years now with a patient endurance as He waits for people and governments to repent of truly evil practices. However, instead of repentance it seems things only get worse. The list of offences is very long and while most people shake their heads with dismay at government policies or the individual actions of those who murder, rape or steal, the idea of God coming in judgment is inconceivable.

I am only one small voice on an obscure internet blog and yet I know it is my duty to warn anyone who comes across this. The warning is simply this: God is coming in judgment and America is in far more danger than most people understand. The only hope….and I mean the ONLY hope….is for each person to repent of their sin and turn to God through the salvation of Jesus Christ. There isn’t one of us that doesn’t have something for which we need to repent and there isn’t one of us that doesn’t absolutely NEED to turn to God. He is our only hope of protection in what’s to come.

This is a ‘season’ for fasting and prayer.

It’s a time to seek the Lord with all that is within us.

It is a time to ‘get right’ with God.

The time is now very short.


“The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, 
and from the greatest to the least, they decided 
to go without food and wear sackcloth 
to show their sorrow.” 
Jonah 3: 5



May the Lord bless you and keep you,
Holly








Looking Back


But Jesus told him, 
“Anyone who puts a hand to the plough 
and then looks back is not 
fit for the Kingdom of God.” 
Luke 9: 62


Commitment is a serious word to many people. It means their word is their bond, that they will finish what they started or will stick with something or someone despite the difficulties. Society today makes it easier than ever to renege on a commitment so people who follow through in a loyal manner have a quality of character that is highly esteemed.

The commitment in the Christian life is to follow Christ. We do that by the truth of His Word, the leading of His Holy Spirit and a focus on Him whether our circumstances are easy or fraught with difficulty. Perhaps the most important aspect of commitment is belief. When we deeply believe something it’s a far simpler thing to make, and keep, a commitment.

“Looking back” in the above verse suggests someone who makes a commitment to a certain course, in this case the commitment to follow Christ, then thinks back to a time when life required less and considers quitting the present course of action. One thing we know we can expect from commitment is that it's going to require something of us. That something might be work or faith or trust or an absolute determination not to give up. Whatever it requires, it will make demands on us and when they become onerous our temptation is to look back to a time when we think we had freedom.

Abraham was one who made such a commitment of faith that he shines as an example in scripture. As a man without a child he was given a promise by God when he was a very old man that he would be the father of many. Because the promise was given by God it would have been easy to believe initially. However, the years rolled by and still there were no children yet Abraham believed and kept his commitment to trust God to fulfill His promise.

Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. 
In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 
He was absolutely convinced that God was able to do anything He promised. 
And because of Abraham’s faith, God declared him to be righteous.”
 Acts 4: 20-22

It would have been understandable for Abraham to be discouraged and give up his expectation but this verse tells us instead his faith grew stronger. He’d made a commitment to believe the promise God had given, he stuck to that commitment of faith and saw the fulfillment of the promise. Not only did he have a son but God Himself declared Abraham a righteous man. And that's as good as it gets!

God has given every single one of us promises we can trust. His commitment is to fulfill those promises. Our commitment is to trust and obey. Looking back is a way of seeking answers or fulfillment in the systems of this world which eventually disappoint us or lead us away from our commitment to Christ. It is our duty, and indeed our very great joy, to keep our hands on the plough with our eyes on Christ and we will reap the blessings of a life wholly committed to Him.

“I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. 
So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, 
who loved me and gave Himself for me.” 
Galatians 2: 20



Plans






But then something happened! For it pleased God in His kindness 
to choose me and call me, even before I was born! 
What undeserved mercy! Then He revealed his Son to me so 
that I could proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.

Galatians 1: 15-16


When basic needs such as food, shelter and relationships are fulfilled, we humans have a pressing desire to live lives of purpose. We’re each born with gifts and talents and some are fortunate enough to even earn a living using those talents.

While we as Christians may have a variety of purposes or callings there is one common thread for each of us and it is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s the mandate of every single Christian by direction of Christ Himself.

Many times preachers will exhort their congregations to ‘just get out there and do it” which is understandable given the way many believers become so caught up with their lives they miss opportunities to ‘rescue the perishing’ regularly.

But what if you’re one of those who are champing at the bit to fulfill the calling you believe the Lord has embedded in your heart and yet you find yourself in a wilderness experience or trapped in circumstances that are prison-like or you’re beset with so many horrendous problems in your life that all you can do is put out fires?

Take heart from this: you’re in good company.

You are probably already aware of Paul, Joseph, Elijah, John the Baptist, Moses, David and just about every other person in the Bible the Lord used to fulfill His purposes. Each one had lengthy time-outs while the Lord prepared them for what was ahead.

These are times of training and they can seem extraordinarily long but they are actually a gift of grace from the Lord to prepare us. It’s in these times we learn to be hearers and doers of His Word, we learn the value of complete obedience, we learn the power of prayer and we learn endurance.

The danger during these periods is discouragement. Sometimes we think God has forgotten us and it is especially true when we see others forging ahead in their destiny. Other times we find ourselves wondering if we were delusional. Still other times we hear the disparaging comments of others and confidence in our direction wobbles.

David experienced this very thing when he was anointed to be king of Israel and found himself constantly dodging the sword of Saul. At one point, Jonathan assures David by saying, “Don’t be afraid. My father will never find you. You are going to be the king of Israel …” (1 Samuel 23: 17). The Lord had His plan for David and at a time when he was fighting for his life he had a trustworthy friend helping him and reminding him that God had a plan.

God has a plan for your life. There may be what appear to be insurmountable obstacles but keep your focus on the Lord, obey Him in the tasks of each day and you will find yourself precisely in the centre of that plan and His will.
Holly

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.
 “They are plans for good and not disaster, 

to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11



Loving Discipline



"And have you entirely forgotten the encouraging words 
God spoke to you, His children? He said:  My child, 
don't ignore it when the Lord disciplines you, 
and don't be discouraged when He corrects you. 
For the Lord disciplines those He loves...."


Hebrews 12: 5-6


It’s not a popular thing to suggest God might discipline us. Vehement protestations question how a loving God could possibly allow bad things to happen to good people. But bad things happen to good people all the time and if God is sovereign and omnipotent, as of course He is, the question then becomes why. This is a question people have been asking since the beginning of time and one we’d all wish to have answered fully.

There are many aspects of suffering in this world. With only a mouse click on any news website we learn of the horrors of famines, earthquakes, floods, crimes and cancers constantly present in this world. However, with this post I am referring only to the type of difficulty that occurs when our heavenly Father lovingly corrects us.

He does you know.

When we’re drifting away from a close relationship with God, usually typified by waning prayer and Bible reading/study, He will send along warnings in order to get our attention. Initially, He will speak to us most often through our conscience. It is at this point we are very wise indeed if we immediately turn from a behaviour or attitude that God would consider sin. Yet many times we ignore the voice of conscience and carry on with our own will which takes us step-by-precarious-step from the centre of God’s will.

Increasingly, there will be warnings and they come in many forms. Some come from sermons, others may come from friends who see that we’re losing some of the graces of love, joy, peace, kindness, self-control and so on. Still other warnings may come in the form of a movie that makes a sharp point right in the bulls-eye of our conscience. Perhaps it’s a daily email that comes with a Scripture verse or a card from a relative. Whatever way a warning 'speaks' the discerning heart will know it’s the Lord’s voice.

At this point we often find ourselves making excuses to justify our behaviour or we whine that 'it’s too hard to obey'. The Lord’s patience is an absolutely remarkable thing though. He will continue to give us time to turn from those behaviours He refers to as sin, always waiting for us to come to Him in repentance. When we do He rewards us with forgiveness and blessing.

However, if we continue to persist in our sin the warnings will become increasingly louder and more obvious until finally the Lord has to “get out of His chair’.

This is a reference to my son-in-law’s father. Pierre tells the story of how his father, Phil, would warn he and his brothers and sister when playtime turned rough. After several admonitions Phil would finally say, “If I have to get out of this chair….” With this the children knew Dad was threatening to take the situation in hand!

It’s not so very different with the Lord. When we continue to sin the Lord will correct us. He doesn’t do it because He’s ‘mad at us’ which has often been the stick people have held over others to manipulate them. Rather, He will allow or design a circumstance that will instantly stop us in our tracks and always because in His boundless love for us is protecting us from wandering down a destructive path. The pain experienced in the correction is far less than the one we would feel if allowed to continue on a destructive path.

The apostle Paul had been imprisoned and was being taken to Rome. Before the voyage Paul heard the voice of the Lord and warned the ship’s officers that it was too dangerous to sail. In spite of the warning, the ship put out to sea and sailed right into a massive storm. The ship’s officers didn’t listen to the voice of the Lord and came close to losing their lives as well as the lives of their entire crew. However, they did listen during the storm when Paul told them the Lord would preserve their lives even though they were going to be shipwrecked and then told them what they needed to do. (Read the full account of this story in Acts 27)

The point, of course, is that they could have avoided the shipwreck altogether had they listened to the voice of the Lord before sailing.

Pay attention to the early warnings and act on them.
Holly

But consider the joy of those corrected by God! 
Do not despise the chastening of the Almighty when you sin.
 For though He wounds, He also bandages. 
He strikes, but His hands also heal.


Job 5: 17-18



Comfort and Purpose


“All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us.”

2 Corinthians 1: 3

Some years ago I read the word ‘comfort’ derives from a Latin word that means ‘to strengthen’. Until then, I generally thought of comfort as consolation, rather in the way of patting someone on the hand in a sympathetic manner. Yet it was learning the word also indicates strengthening which gave me a better understanding of what this verse above means.

Life has so many moments when we need strength--illness, financial setbacks, relationship issues or the surprise of the telephone call that brings a blow of bad news on a day when life looks pretty good. Our perception of these times affects whether we see them as disasters …..or opportunities.

My goodness, that sounds trite--like some television infomercial guru selling his latest book on positive thinking. Yet the reality is that each storm of life represents an opportunity for character growth and faith development. Having said that, while in the midst of these storms it can be difficult to care much about either one!

However, it’s vital during times of stress to be able to see purpose in our circumstances. Any person ‘rightly related’ to God (ie: one who has repented from sin and turned his or her life Godward through the salvation of Jesus Christ) can weather any storm with the sure knowledge that all things are working together for good according to the purposes of God. In fact, that reference from Romans 8:28 is a principle by which each us have sure comfort or strength no matter what situation may arise in life.

Think about it for a minute.

“For we know that all things work together for good for those who are the called according to His purpose…”

A Christian is one of those who are ‘called’. So with that in mind we then know that ALL things that occur work together for our good. Even the bad stuff.

Knowing there is purpose drastically changes how we perceive that bad stuff.

Knowing there is purpose is itself a great comfort.
Holly
.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, 
for we know that they are good for us--
they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops 
strength of character is us, and character strengthens
 our confident expectation of salvation. 
And this expectation will not disappoint us. 
For we know how dearly God loves us, 
because He has given us the Holy Spirit 
to fill our hearts with His love.”
Romans 5: 3-5